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Pro Tips: Instagram Shares Insights into How to Maximize Your On-Platform Promotion Efforts

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Over the past five years, Instagram has emerged as one of the key social media channels for brand promotion, with more and more people now turning to the app for inspiration, discovery, and increasingly, direct purchase options.

That means that, for many brands, Instagram is now a key consideration – but maximizing your Instagram presence can be challenging, with the rising battle for attention in the app making it more difficult to stand out, attract new followers, and boost your messaging.

So what are the best ways to approach Instagram marketing in 2021, and how can you improve your posting strategy and presence?

To glean more insight on this, we recently spoke to Emily Reid, the Product Marketing Lead for Small Businesses at Instagram, to get her tips on some of the key elements of Instagram posting and promotion.

Q. What ad/promotional elements are seeing best response on Instagram right now?

ER: Each surface on Instagram can help you do something different, and when put together, we see businesses building communities of loyal customers.

One of the benefits of using Instagram is the various surfaces, through which you can reach your fans, community and customers in different ways. You can use Reels to create short, entertaining videos, and increase the chance of your brand being discovered by people that don’t follow you. You can use Stories to connect with your audience in different ways, from showcasing behind the scene clips to polling your followers, and interacting with them to get a better understanding of what they’d like to see.

We recommend experimenting as much as possible to find that sweet spot. Things that end up becoming hits are often the result of businesses and creators riffing and trying out new things. 

Q: What’s the key to an effective Instagram marketing strategy?

ER: Today, over 90% of people follow a business on Instagram. People come to Instagram to be inspired and discover things that they care about, which includes content from brands – so businesses should use this to their advantage. 

Our biggest tip is to experiment! Try using the different surfaces and free tools on Instagram to connect with and build an audience, whether that’s using stories to show behind the scenes, Instagram Live to have a conversation or tools like Shopping tags to drive direct sales. 

With the shifting trend towards eCommerce, we recently added a new Shop tab in the main navigation bar, so in one tap, people can shop the latest trends from creators and brands on Instagram Shop. We also introduced shopping on Reels and IGTV to give people the ability to shop at the moment of inspiration. Businesses should use these tools to drive product sales directly. 

Q: What are some good examples of brands that are achieving strong results with Instagram marketing?

ER: @halfdays – A small DTC brand started by an Olympic skier who had a hard time finding proper fitting ski apparel designed and made for women, by women.

Halfdays

As founder Kiley McKinnon explains, “A lot of skiwear brands use the ‘shrink it and pink it’ method – take men’s gear, make it smaller and add something like a floral pattern.” Rather than shrinking and pinking, the team looks to their own closets for inspiration, with the result being minimalist pieces in neutral shades and inclusive sizes.

@HillHouse – A woman-owned small business behind the Nap Dress that was everywhere on Instagram this last year.

@ultraviolet.nyc – A small, black woman-owned shop specializing in handmade jewelry. Instagram has helped her build awareness and reach customers that love her work who otherwise may not have found her.

Ultraviolet on Instagram

Q: What would be your top tip for someone starting out with Instagram ads?

ER: We’ve made it simple for small businesses to advertise on Instagram directly within the app using our Promote feature. We know that small businesses are often short on time and resources. Our ad options are designed to help them easily reach an audience that we think may be interested in their products or services.

We encourage businesses to try to think like a creator when producing ads – be scrappy, experimental and take inspiration from trending content and effects on the platform.

Socialmediatoday.com

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Pinterest Focuses on Travel Inspiration and Education for Black History Month

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Pinterest Focuses on Travel Inspiration and Education for Black History Month

Pinterest is taking a unique approach to Black History Month, with a new ‘Find Your Routes’ Black Travel Hub initiative, which aims to highlight places that have strong connections to Black history, while also showcasing Black-owned businesses.

As explained by Pinterest:

“Find Your Routes” is inspired by The Negro Motorist Green Book aka “The Green Book”. The Green Book was a guidebook for Black travelers during the Jim Crow era that provided a list of accessible hotels, boarding houses, taverns, restaurants, service stations and other establishments throughout the country that served Black Americans patrons.”

The Black Travel Hub, which you can find here, will present a range of travel options, along with their history, with creators from the US, Colombia, Jamaica, Brazil and more, all taking part in presenting their city.

It could be a good way to provide education alongside inspiration in the app, while also helping people to connect, and support highlighted communities.

Pinterest will also be showcasing Black-owned businesses on Pinterest TV, while internally, it’s also hosting a company-wide event ‘to help employees gain knowledge about the history, present, and future of Black travel through the lens of Black Pinployees’.

As noted, it could be a good way to both spark important conversations, and inspire new travel journeys, which include an extra level of cultural understanding and education, along with a leisure break.

It’s an interesting take on the celebration either way, and it’ll be worth noting what sort of reaction the initiative gets, and whether it inspires more travel as a result.

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Snap Tumbles On Weak Revenue, Gloomy Outlook

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Snap Tumbles On Weak Revenue, Gloomy Outlook

Snap shares plunged after missing analyst expectations in Q4, while forecasting a year-over-year revenue decline.

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Snapchat Adds 12 Million Users in Q4, Posts Lower Than Expected Revenue Result

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Snapchat Adds 12 Million Users in Q4, Posts Lower Than Expected Revenue Result

Snapchat added 12 million more active users in Q4 2022, and Snapchat+ subscriptions continue to rise, but company revenue missed market estimates, in another mixed result for the private social app.

First off, on users – as noted, Snap added 12 million more actives, taking it to 375 million DAU.

As you can see, North American user growth is still flat, while European users saw a slight uptick. But it’s the ‘Rest of the World’, specifically India, which is driving Snap growth.

Which is helping to boost the overall usage numbers, and expand opportunity. But on the revenue side, it’s not pushing things forward in a significant way.

Snap Q4 2022

As you can see in this chart, Snapchat’s revenue has increased, but a key problem here is that it’s still reliant on the US and Canada for the majority of that spend, with other markets trailing well behind on the revenue front.

Snap Q4 2022

In this chart, you can see that Snap’s Revenue Per User has actually declined year-on-year – so while it is growing, it’s not bringing in revenue at equivalent scale, and it’s even going backwards in some respects.

Which is why its stagnant growth in North America is a problem – though Snap has also seen take-up of its Snapchat+ subscription service increase.

“In Q4, our subscription service Snapchat+ reached over 2.0 million paying subscribers. Snapchat+ offers exclusive, experimental, and pre-release features, and in Q4 we launched new features such as Custom Story Expiration and Custom Notification Sounds, providing subscribers with over 12 exclusive features.”

That’s a handy additional revenue stream, but as with all social media subscription services (including Twitter Blue), take-up is generally limited, and at 2 million subscribers, that’s still only 0.5% of Snapchat’s active user base that’s been willing to pay extra for these add-on elements.

Snap has also faced challenges in rebuilding its ad business, in the wake of Apple’s iOS 14 update, which has impacted data collection, and Snap CEO Evan Spiegel says they still have some way to go on this yet:

“We continue to face significant headwinds as we look to accelerate revenue growth, and we are making progress driving improved return on investment for advertisers and innovating to deepen the engagement of our community.”

Snap has seen improvement in its commerce integrations, which includes digital items for Bitmoji avatars which Snap is eventually looking to translate into real-world item sales as well. Snap also says that it’s facilitated over than 161 million product trials by over 35 million Snapchatters for Walmart, leveraging its Catalog-Powered Shopping Lenses at-scale.

Snapchat AR shopping

Those point to bigger opportunities, but right now, amid the broader economic downturn, and restrictions on data collection and targeting, Snapchat is in a tough spot, and will be for some time yet.

Essentially, then, you’re banking on Snap’s future, and its advanced tools that could help it better align with expanded AR and VR use. And Snap is seemingly in a good position on this front – though again, the impacts of the last year, which also forced Snap into lay-offs, will also have some effect.

Really, then, the results here are relative to your perspective.

For advertisers, more Snap users means more potential reach – but most of Snap’s growth is coming from outside the US. More advanced AR activations could become a bigger deal in future, but it depends on how you’re looking to connect, and product fit.

Investors won’t be overly happy with the numbers, but there are positive signs on the horizon. It’s just that the horizon, in this respect, remains well in the distance at this stage.

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